Super Bowl 40–A Commercial Occasion

[Pre-Game Pre-Ramble]
USA TODAY provides a list of Super Bowl ads, complete with a one-line synopsis for each.
Some of the spots don’t sound too good.

Ameriquest: Patient’s family walks in on medical misunderstanding.
Budweiser: Sheep is a big fan of big game.
CareerBuilder: Chimps celebrate strong sales quarter.
Gillette: Five-blade razor is a top secret until now.
GM Hummer: Monsters marry and have a Hummer baby.
Michelob Ultra Amber: Touch football gets ugly.
Paramount: Ads promote Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible III.

[1st Quarter Stats]
– Crispin Porter’s “old Hollywood” Burger King spot. Mildly humorous in an over-the-top fashion. But where’s the flame-broiled burger?
– Fed Ex caveman spot. I like it. Best spot so far. It dramatizes the brand promise in a smart, memorable manner. Love the line about Fed Ex not being invented yet not being an acceptable excuse (for not sending the package via Fed Ex).
– Diet Pepsi’s “brown and bubbly” P. Diddy spot. Catchy tune that fans can sing along with.
– (3) Bud Light spots. Sophmoric humor is alive and well. No surprise there.
[2nd Quarter Stats]
– Caddilac couture. Escalade as fashion icon. Whatever. It’s a truck.
– Dove’s self-esteem campaign. Great message. Good to see during the testosterone fest.
– Ford’s Kermit the frog spot for its new hybrids. Interesting approach–if you grew up watching Sesame Street, buy Detroit green.
[3rd Quarter Stats]
– Fabio’s Nationwide Insurance spot. A gross way to say time flies (so you better buy insurance).
– Hummers little monster. Clever and dramatic, but strange, maybe even a little disturbing.
[4th Quarter Stats]
– Emerald Nuts. Winner of the “We’re weirder than those other nuts!” award.
– HeresToBeer.com. Preaching to the choir in this context, but the spot delivers an effective, believable message–that beer is the universal beverage.
[Post-Game Recap]
This year’s commercials were uneventful through and through, with only a few bright spots, which is hard to understand on some level. When you have 90 million viewers paying attention, you better have something to say. Go Daddy, a firm that made a bang last year with their Congressional hearing spoof, had nothing coherent to say this year. What a waste.

About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am now head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.